Sunday, February 20, 2005

At the movies

Had a rather filled-up weekend after a long gap. There was all the freelance work Ajitha and I have been doing and then Ajitha's idyllic three-days-a-week work shift is off and she needs to go in a criminal five days' a week now. And then there has been my new work which gives me a rock-solid excuse to stay in bed as far as possible on my off-days.

But we had the Headlines Today sports bureau over at our place on Friday. After work. Food and booze and general banter. Also, me being new and Ajitha not having met any of them properly (except for the little time we spent at Chandru's party), it was a good chance to spend a bit of off-office time with everyone. Also got generous doses of office gossip. Always a good idea when you are just a month-old in your workplace.

And then yesterday, after waking up well past evening tea time, we went on a movie-watching spree. Started with Black. Thought it was amazing. Really, really good. And coming from the same man who made Devdas, it was a pleasant surprise.

BLACK: Melodramatic? Yes. But how do you make a film about disabled people without a bit of melodrama? And a bit of noise? I thought that bit was dealt with especially well and the noise quotient was well managed. The acting was uniformly good. Rani Mukherjee can evidently act. Amitabh Bachchan was brilliant. Mindblowingly so. Even - a bit unexpectedly - with his Alzheimer's act...the shuffling around the place with the silently bobbing head. Everyone else was also more than competent. The colours were awesome. The background music (there were no songs) was not jarring.

And while those were just the tangibles...the film, as a film, was more than just good. A big thumbs up as far as I am concerned.

We went to watch Finding Neverland after that. It came with a bonus screening of The Little Terrorist. Finding Neverland has to be one of the greatest movies made in recent times. I am not equipped enough to write out a proper review saying exactly what I felt and all that. Really. But yes, it was a classic as far as fantasy + reality + interpretation + surrealism is concerned. Add to that Johnny Depp at what's possibly the peak of his acting ability and a characteristically restrained Kate Winslet and it was a treat. Little Peter was super as well.

Little Terrorist, meanwhile, was utterly charming. The simple story [of a Pakistani boy playing cricket on their side of the border, chasing the ball into the other side (full of landmines that don't go off), being spotted by the sentinels, running into a village on the Rajasthan side of the border, being branded a terrorist, having all his hair shaved off, and being returned home by the old man and his daughter] is told in the barest of ways possible. No Hindu-Muslim nonsense. All the Oscar talk is beside the point - and we haven't seen any of the other entries anyway - but it's a commendable bit of filmmaking.

And then we bought a VCD of this Iranian film called Baran by the rather well-known Majid Majidi. Will see it sometime this week.